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Entries in Howard Schultz (4)

Monday
Oct032011

Starbucks CEO Announces Initiative to Create Jobs

Mario Tama/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz hopes customers in more than 6,500 stores will leave his establishments with not only drinks in their hands, but also red, white and blue bracelets on their wrists.

Schultz announced Monday that the "Create Jobs for USA" initiative, in partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network, a collection of community lenders, will use donations to make loans to local businesses that have difficulties securing financing.

Starting Nov. 1, Create Jobs for USA will begin accepting donations online and in Starbucks stores. Every donor who contributes $5 or more will receive a bracelet inscribed with the word "Indivisible."

"The country is not in a crisis. This is an emergency," Schultz told ABC News. "There is a tremendous problem with small businesses in America getting access to credit....Right now we can't wait for Washington. Businesses and business leaders have to recognize that we have a shared responsibility in trying to make a difference."

The Starbucks Foundation will donate $5 million to kick off the Create Jobs for USA Fund and, according to the Opportunity Finance Network, each $5 donation will allow for $35 in financing from community lenders. The network estimates that one job will be created for every $21,000 in loans or about $3,000 in donations.

"The division in America right now is that there is a crisis of confidence with regard to our economy," Schultz said. "There's no division between business leaders and workers. The division is between what's going on in Washington and the fact that Americans who need solutions are not getting it."

"I would beg [Washington], I would get on my hands and knees and say put your feet in the shoes of Americans who are being left behind and wake up and understand you took an oath of office to represent the country, not personal ideology."

Schultz said the people he has met in his stores inspired him to take action.

"I began to see someone at one of our local stores in Seattle very often," Schultz told ABC News. "I walked up to him and I said, 'I just noticed you're here every day. Thank you for coming to Starbucks.'"

The middle-aged man pulled Schultz aside and within five minutes began crying. He said, "I come here every day because I have nowhere else to go."

"These are the kinds of stories that I think motivated me to say, 'I got to do something. I've got to do something,'" Schultz said. "[Create Jobs for USA] is what came out of it and I think it's a damn good idea."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep082011

Starbucks CEO: 'We Can't Wait for Washington'

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who recently made a call to action for his "fellow concerned Americans" to boycott campaign contributions, said it is up to U.S. business leaders to help get the country out of its "crisis of confidence."

"We can't wait for Washington," he said.  "Business leaders are going to have to galvanize their own constituencies and do everything they can to demonstrate confidence in the economy, and I think that can be contagious."

In an interview with ABC's Nightline, Schultz talked about his loathing of Congress and the administration in, what he called, the "tragic conclusion" of the debt ceiling deal.

"I don't recognize what's coming out of Washington," he said.  "I'm just asking in the most respectful way.  You took an oath of office, all of you, to represent America, not ideology, not one constituency over another.  We have serious problems right now."

He added it was U.S. business leaders' "responsibility" to help increase consumer confidence, especially through job creation.  For his own company, Schultz said, he plans to remodel 1,700 Starbucks stores in the next year, and try to open up 200 new stores.

But the lack of a long-term agreement on the debt ceiling deal -- Congress and the administration still need to agree on $1.5 trillion more in budget savings by the end of the year -- is a direct link, he says, to the faltering economy.

"Most business people today are not going to invest in the uncertainty that exists in America," he said.  "That uncertainly is directly linked to the debt ceiling."

A registered Democrat, Schultz wouldn't openly criticize President Obama or any specific member of Congress, but said there was a disconnect between Washington and the needs of the U.S. people.

"My biggest concern is that America is drifting towards mediocrity and that people don't recognize -- and by people I'm meaning Washington -- don't recognize the sense of urgency and the fact that I don't think this is a crisis anymore.  I think it's an emergency," he said.

The Starbucks CEO said his campaign started with a call-to-action memo to his 200,000 employees and 50 other CEOs, which, he said, sparked encouragement for him to keep going.

He then officially launched his campaign in August with full-page ads and his website, Upwardspiral2011.org, calling upon people to boycott any further political contributions until the national deficit is reduced, as first reported by The New York Times.  Schultz held a teleconference Tuesday night, where he said 130,000 people participated in a discussion about issues with the economy.

Schultz said 140 CEOS have now joined his pledge.  They include CEOs from the NASDAQ, AOL, J.C. Penney and the New York Stock Exchange.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep062011

Starbucks CEO Invites Americans to Take Part in 'Call-in Conversation'

Mario Tama/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- "We are better than this."  That's the message Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wants Congress and America to hear, according to full page ads in The New York Times and USA Today, where Schultz invites "concerned Americans" to take part in a teleconference Tuesday night to address what he calls the "pervasive failure of leadership in Washington."

Schultz has made no secret lately of his disgust with what he deems an unacceptable level of partisanship and political wrangling in Congress.

"For every day they perpetuate partisan conflict and put ideology over country, America and Americans suffer," Schultz said.  "We cannot let this stand."

Last month, Schultz asked fellow business leaders to boycott campaign contributions until both parties reached a bipartisan deal on debt.  He also urged them to invest in projects that will create jobs, and help kick start the sluggish economy.

In his ad, which comprises an open letter, Schultz claims that more than 100 CEOs have answered his call and have pledged support on both fronts.

Schultz's call to action hasn't stopped with business leaders.  He claims in the past few weeks he's been inundated with letters from ordinary Americans expressing their frustration with the lack of improvement in their circumstances.

"Some feel they have no voice," he writes.  "Others feel they no longer matter.  And many feel they have been left behind."

Their stories spurred Schultz to this latest endeavor, outlined in the letter: a national 'call-in conversation,' scheduled for Tuesday.

The conversation, detailed on www.upwardspiral2011.org, will be led by Schultz and hosted by the non-partisan group No Labels.  Their goal, as outlined on the website, is to combat what they say is hyper-partisanship in politics, and to make the movement "a powerful voice and counterweight to ideological extremes."

Schultz invites "concerned Americans" to join the teleconference, which will be streamed online, and is scheduled to last 90 minutes starting at 7.30 p.m. ET.  Schultz will sit on a panel with founders of No Labels, as well as economic experts and political strategists from both ends of the spectrum -- and callers will be allowed to ask questions.

The goal, according to Schultz's letter, is to "send a message to today's elected officials. ... That the time to put citizenship ahead of bipartisanship is now."

Jim Olson, vice president of corporate communications at Starbucks, says they expect as many as 50,000 callers to join the teleconference.  He says Schultz hopes a groundswell of support will help shift Congressional focus from bipartisanship, to citizenship.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug162011

Business Leaders Respond to Starbucks CEO's Pledge to Boycott Campaign Contributions

Starbucks Corporation(NEW YORK) -- It's far from a stampede of support yet, but a few business leaders are getting behind Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's pledge to stop all campaign contributions to incumbents until they create a long-term debt deal.

"Right now our economy is frozen in a cycle of fear and uncertainty. Companies are afraid to hire. Consumers are afraid to spend. Banks are afraid to lend," Schultz wrote in a letter dated Aug. 15 to officially launch his campaign, as first reported by The New York Times.

"The only way to break this cycle of fear is to break it. The only way to get the country's economic circulatory system flowing again is to start pumping lifeblood through it," he wrote. "That is why we today issue a second pledge. Our companies are going to hire. We are going to accelerate growth, employment, and investment in jobs."

Nasdaq OMX Group CEO Bob Greifeld forwarded Schultz's letter to all the companies listed in that exchange.

"I think that Howard's idea is a great one, and I have told him that he can count on me," Greifeld wrote in his email to those companies. "At NASDAQ OMX, we will also continue to invest in the future by hiring and focusing our efforts on job creation."

Duncan Niederauer, CEO of the NYSE Euronext, also sent Schultz's email to the 3,000 CEOs in that exchange.

"I am bullish on the state of corporate America, and the millions of jobs which support this powerful network," Niederauer wrote in his email forward to those companies. "Now is the time for corporate leadership, and for the collective voice of our CEOs to be heard. It is my hope that our leaders can put politics aside and focus on generating long-term sustainable growth driven by the private sector."

Greifeld and Niederauer were not available for comment.

Schultz has donated $27,900 to political candidates from 2007 to 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' website, OpenSecrets.org. The most recent donation was to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who was not immediately available to comment.

Schultz's pledge kicked off as Michele Bachmann clinched the Republican Iowa straw poll for the presidential nomination and the candidates try to woo donors across the country.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said the response has been "positive," though she said she could not provide additional names of CEOs who back the plan.

Requests for comment from AT&T, FedEx, United Parcel Service and Lockheed Martin, some of the largest corporate campaign contributors from 1989 to 2010 according to the Center for Responsive Politics, were not immediately returned.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Robert Reich, former Labor Department secretary under Bill Clinton and professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, said Schultz's pledge may not be enough to be politically influential.

"He should have gone further and asked all other CEOs to end all campaign contributions, period," Reich told ABC News. "They're corrupting our politics and are not even in the interest of shareholders."

Michael Beckel, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told ABC News that it may be too early to tell whether Schultz's pledge may change behavior in Washington. The majority of large campaign contributors between 1989 and 2010 were in fact associations and unions, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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